Friday, November 27, 2009


Greetings!  I've been remiss since Thanksgiving.  I have to say I have been doing a lot of cooking. 

The day after Thanksgiving we had a great group of friends over.  Due to the nature of J's job, he gets a lot of presents at this time of year.  Usually in the form of cash or gift cards.  This season, we received something new, fresh pasta!  J was given 4 bags of ravioli (2 pumpkin and 2 spinach and sausage) and something I had never seen before, a Rotolo.

rotolo before adding sauce on top and baking

In this form, a rotolo is a stuffed pasta roll.  Three types of pasta - plain, tomato and spinach - in a large sheet, layered with mozzarella, ricotta and spinach and rolled into a log, almost like the pre-cooked polenta logs you can buy in the store, but larger. 

To serve, spread a baking dish with a thin layer of red sauce (we just used a store bought arrabiata), slice the rotolo, lay the slices in the dish and add more sauce on top and around the slices.  Put in a 350 degree oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes.

We served with sauteed spinach and roasted cauliflower.  Add in a couple of bottles of wine and a side of 6 friends and 3 kids and you have the perfect way to recover after Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I know I declared my intention to write something I am grateful for daily, which didn't really happen.  However, it was a good exercise leading up to the ultimate day of thanks giving!

I have so much to be grateful for.  A wonderful husband, amazing friends, abundant family, all the things that can be too easily overlooked on a day to day basis.

Today I am also thankful that my husband makes me delicious pancake breakfasts!  I am thankful I have my health and have started running.  I am thankful my parents made music lessons a priority and that I have started playing the piano again.

And today especially, I am thankful for mushroom pate and wontons!  The thanksgiving meal isn't really my style, but the appetizers surely are.  Non-traditional?  Yes.  Delicious?  Absolutely. 

Now off to the gym for a quick run to burn off some of the pancakes before digging in to the thanksgiving appetizers!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Raw Creamy Celery Soup

In sticking with my new found resolution for weight loss and pursuit of overall health I had a nice polenta square with ragu with some leftover salad for lunch and decided to do a raw dinner after a run on the treadmill at the gym. 

P.S.  not having tv at home does make going to the gym more inviting.  I got to watch the Biggest Loser!  And if that won't inspire you to run, I don't know what will....

I came across this recipe on the Raw Epicurean website and tweaked the ingredients and portion size just a bit.  You need the juicer and blender, although the RawEpicurean site says instead of juicing the celery you can remove the fibrous strings in the celery by hand and just blend. 


1/2 cup celery juice
1/2 avocado pitted
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp agave
Sea salt and pepper to taste

After juicing the celery, add all ingredients to the blender.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate prior to serving.  Garnish with celery leaves, parsley leaves or fresh chopped celery.

I enjoyed this although it wasn't as creamy as I would have liked.  I might cut the water a little bit next time.  The original recipe called for the addition of either red onion or shallot but raw onion sometimes gives me a headache so I eliminated it.  I might instead add a little heat in the form of cayenne or hot sauce. 

Turkey Trot!

My friend Angie and I have been "virtually" running together.  Talking about running, motivating eachother from across the country.  We decided to bag the half marathon in January (my training in the winter simply was not going to happen) but signed up for a 5k the Sunday before Thanksgiving weekend!  We also met up with our friend Karen at the race and the three of us trotted to a perfectly acceptable 33 minute 5k!

After the race!

Very early in the morning, ready to go!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Green Juice

In the last few years I have dabbled here and there with various detoxes and the raw food movement.  A very good friend of mine from childhood has become a main player in the raw food movement  here in Chicago and I took a detox lifestyle class with her before I got married.

While I haven't found the lifestyle to be sustainable for me, I continue to dabble and find that my interest in a more wholistic approach to health and eating continues to grow.  It plays itself out in a myriad of ways, from focusing on eating local and seasonally whenever possible, to changing cleansers in my home, to turning off the tv and trying to slow down life as much as possible.  Just browsing the Recent Recipes section of my blog I can read the changing of the seasons just in the foods I'm cooking!

In the last year I have gotten into juicing.  I was thrilled when I first bought my juicer.  I was lucky that the woman at the checkout counter of Macy's was a longtime juicer who stoked my enthusiasm even further and gave me some great pointers (as well as some extra discounts!).

It's easy to juice in the spring and summer.  Everything is incredibly fresh, the days are getting warmer and our bodies are craving lighter fare.  However, I am making a concerted effort to keep juicing throughout the fall and winter.  If there's any time that our bodies could use an extra dose of fresh fruits and vegetables it is now!

One of the simplest and most cleansing juices is a simple Green Juice.  It has natural detox properties and helps readjust your body's pH levels.

Whenever at all possible, use organic fruits and vegetables when juicing!


1/2 bunch of kale
1/2 bag baby spinach
1/2 cucumber
3-4 celery stalks
1/2 lemon, rind and pith removed

I juice all of this then run a bit of filtered water through the juicer to get out as much of the good stuff as possible.  I sometimes add a bit of sparkling water and tonight added a dash of hot sauce.  I also added a spoonful of Greener Grasses just to up the nutrient value.

The holidays are a time of great joy, but can really do a number on our bodies.  This holiday season my goal is to keep the fresh juices flowing to try to help with energy and weight control.  My exercise regimen has slacked off incredibly the last few weeks, but I ran a 5k yesterday and am heading back to the gym tomorrow!

Polenta Squares Topped with Sausage Ragu

I made this dish this week as a quick and easy meal to get us through until Thanksgiving.  I love polenta and enjoy using it in lieu of pasta, especially as I am trying to cut down on my gluten intake.  This was kind of an ad hoc red sauce that turned out pretty well!

2 spicy italian sausage links
     -meat removed from the casings and crumbled
1 24oz can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
olive oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot peeled and diced
1 celery stalk diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
splash of red wine
splash of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
fresh parsley and basil chopped ( less than 1/4 bunch of parsley and about 10 basil leaves)


1 cup quick cooking polenta
3 cups water
parmigan cheese for grating

In large sauce pan heat some olive oil and cook the onion, carrot and celery until onion is soft and translucent.

Add the sausage and garlic and cook until the meat is browned.

Add a healthy splash of red wine and cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes, dried basil, red pepper flakes and simmer about 40 minutes.

Add a splash of balsamic and stir in the fresh herbs.  Simmer for a few more minutes and remove from the heat.

While the ragu is simmering, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan. 

Turn off the heat, add a pinch of salt and whisk in the cup of polenta.  Continue stirring the polenta with a wooden spoon until it thickens.

Add a little butter and grate parmesan cheese into the polenta.

Pour the polenta out into a baking dish and smooth.  Turn on the broiler and put the polenta under the broiler until the top just begins to harden.

Pull out and let cool.

Cut the polenta into squares and top with a hearty helping of the ragu and sprinkle a little more parmesan on top for serving. 

We served this meal with the Roasted Cauliflower.

Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts are one of my favorite holiday snacks.  My mom always had little bowls of roasted chestnuts around the house as soon as the weather really got cold.  They remind me of childhood and make me want to wrap myself in warm clothing and sit in front of the fire. 


Use as many chestnuts as you would like.

Preheat the oven to 425

With a paring knife, cut an x on the flattest face of each chestnut.

Put them on a baking sheet cut side up and roast for about 20 minutes.

Let cool, put on your warmest socks, wrap yourself in your softest sweater, peel and enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower comes into season in fall and you may have been seeing a lot of it in your local supermarkets.  Now cauliflower is not considered by most to be the most exciting vegetable around, but we've come up with a simple way to serve it that makes it a welcome side dish addition to any fall meal.


1 head cauliflower
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cut up the cauliflower into bite size pieces.  Put the pieces in a roasting pan or pyrex dish.  Add olive oil to lightly coat, salt and pepper.

Roast the cauliflower in the oven until it just starts to brown, checking every few minutes and stirring to prevent sticking.  Add some parmesan near the end if you like.

Voila!  An easy, cheap and healthy way to enjoy cauliflower in a new way. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Pancetta and Almonds

You may have noticed that I don't cook a lot of meat.  My husband has been designated as the one who cooks the proteins while I take over the vegetables, sides, soups and appetizers.  However, last night I braised some chicken all by my lonesome!

We saw this recipe over a year ago on Food Network's Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.  We made it for Christmas Eve last year and it was an instant hit.  I really like Anne Burrell's show, but watching the amount of salt she uses in her cooking is horrifying.  It reinforces the idea of home cooking 90% of the time and eating out for special occasions!


Olive oil
3 lbs chicken breasts on the bone with skin
1 pound (or so) mixed mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake), cleaned and sliced
1/3 lb pancetta diced
1 very large onion diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup dry white wine
2-3 cups chicken stock
a few springs of thyme
4 bay leaves
1/2 cup blanched almonds

In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil to high.  Pat the chicken dry, salt and add to the oil.  Cook on one side until browned and then turn to brown the other side.  If the oil starts smoking too much you can turn down the heat.

**I have always had a problem doing this.  You need the confidence to just leave the chicken alone while it spatters away.  Once it is nice and browned the chicken will lift easily up from the bottom of the pan. 

Remove the chicken and set aside.  Lower the heat and remove the excess oil.  Add the pancetta, raise the heat and cook until browned and crispy.  Add the onions and cook for about 7-8 minutes or until nice and softened.  Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook until they have released their juices

**you can tell this by the change in color, they will become much darker.

Add the white wine a cook until reduced.  At this point, return the chicken to the pan.  Add in the chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30-35 minutes until chicken is done.

Meanwhile toast the almonds in a sauce pan (just add the almonds to a hot pan and stir around until they just start to darken).  Put the almonds in a food processor and blend, adding olive oil as you do to make a paste.

When the chicken is done, remove the chicken and set aside.  Taste the sauce and season if needed.  Add the almond paste to the pot and cook until the sauce is thickened  **when I did this last night I added too much stock and had to cook this down for quite awhile.  That's fine, just make sure to continue stirring so the bottom doesn't burn. 

When it is thickened, remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. 

Serve the chicken with a healthy dose of the sauce as a topping!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I am grateful for my colleagues (current and former) who have so graciously agreed to write me recommendation letters for grad school.  There is nothing I hate more than the process of asking people for recs and everyone has responded so wonderfully.  It makes me feel like I am on the right track. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cass Wine Dinner

Over the summer Jason went to a wine festival at the Botanic Gardens and found quite a treat. The Cass Winery. He brought home 1 each of the wines they were pouring, a viognier, a grenache and a syrah.  Since then the plan has been a 3 course meal paired with the Cass Wines.  This Friday it finally happened. 

1st Course - Seared scallop served on a bed of lentils topped with crispy bacon and sage served with Viognier

2nd Course - Spinach tortellini in a creamy gorgonzola sauce with prosciutto and spinach served with Grenache

3rd Course - Beer boiled grilled bratwurst over homemade red sauerkraut with 4 types of mustard served with Syrah

The meal was delicious and the wine pairings right on.  We both agree that the lentil and scallop dish was our favorite.  Dessert were just some simple, store bought pizelles followed by Apples to Apples!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pureed Chickpea Bean Soup with Farro and Porcini Mushrooms (Crema di Ceci con Farro e Funghi Porcini)

I found this recipe in a Tuscan cookbook Jason's co-worker Nancy gave us for Christmas one year.  The original recipe calls for starting with dried chickpeas which I simply didn't have time to deal with during the week.  Here is our take on it.  I'll give you the recipe how it is supposed to be made, and then give you the steps I took to rememdy my premature addition of the farro!


2 1/2 15oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt, freshly ground black pepper and white pepper (optional) to taste
8 cups (32oz) vegetable stock
1/3 cup farro
Hot sauce to taste (approx. 1tsp)
Red wine vinegar to taste (approx 2 tsp)


1/2lb fresh porcini mushrooms, brushed clean
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed (you will remove after sauteeing for a few minutes so crush instead of chopping)
2 tbsp dry white wine
1 fresh thyme sprig
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot over med-low heat warm the olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic and rosemary and sautee until onion is softened and translucent.

In a small bowl dissolve the tomato paste in 1 cup warm water and add to the pot.

Add the chickpeas and the stock, season to taste with the salt, black pepper and white pepper if you like.  Return to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Remove the rosemary sprig.  ***Blend the soup with an immersion or stand blender until creamy

Return the soup to a simmer over medium heat, add the farro and cook until farro is tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut off the tips of the mushroom stems and thinly slice the mushrooms lengthwise.

In a large sautee pan heat the oil over medium heat, add the garlic, cook until golden and fragrant and then remove the garlic.

Add the mushrooms and stir until they begin to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, add the wine and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until the alcohol has evaporated. 

Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the mushrooms are cooked through and their juices have evaporated. 

Remove the thyme sprig.

Add the mushrooms to the soup and combine.  At this point I added the hot sauce in increments as well as the red wine vinegar.  I think this addition really helps to round out the soup and I have learned that most soups can benefit from a dash of acid at the end, in this case, in the form of red wine vinegar.

***Here is where things got a little ugly for me.  I distractedly dumped the farro into the pot before pureeing the soup!  What I did was scoop out ladles full of the chickpea and farro mixture and picked out the chickpeas, adding them to the blender.  When I had as many as I was going to get I added some of the liquid, pureed and returned it to the pot.  I contemplated waiting until the farro was cooked through and just pureeing all of the soup, chickpea, farro and all but was very concerned about what would happen to pureed farro.  This method of correction was incredibly tedious but seemed to work.  It also left some whole chickpeas in the soup which I actually enjoyed for added texture.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have been enjoying making my own hummus this year, it is so easy, delicious and somehow more satisfying to eat (isn't everything homemade?).  I have a co-worker who loves hummus so I am eager to give her a taste of my latest batch!  And, with some baby carrots and radishes for dipping, it will be a much healtheir snack than the leftover halloween candy I've been eating.


1 can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tahini
2 cloves garlic sliced in half
1 lemon
olive oil
good salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add the beans, tahini and garlic to a food processor.  Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lemon into the food processor.  Add a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper.  While blending add the olive oil in a slow stream until the hummus looks to be the consistency you like.  Taste and add more salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed and blend again to mix all the ingredients.

I really like a nice, plain simple hummus but of course there are a million variations.  Let me know if you have a favorite!


I am so grateful that I have such a thoughtful husband, who, as a post-GRE present, brought me flowers and cannoli!  Now that's true love.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I took the GRE tonight.  It seemed quite difficult, but I'll take that as a good sign since it is Computer Adaptive Testing which bases the difficulty of the questions it gives you on how well you have answered the preceding questions.

You are given your scores for the Verbal and Quantitative sections immediately upon completion and I did pretty well.  Now, let's cross our fingers they get the writing samples graded and sent out to my schools before the end of the month!


I am so grateful for the incredible weather we had this weekend.  70s in November?  Fabulous.

I'm also grateful for those pumpkin, black bean burritos.  They are so good I am already dreaming about having another one for dinner tonight!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pumpkin Black Bean Burrito

Here's a recipe I adapted from Closet Cooking.  Another great way to use the pumpkin puree.  We had it for lunch today and it was absolutely delicious.

1 tbsp oil
1/2 onion diced
1 large clove garlic minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup water or stock
1or 2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 chipotle pepper in adobo chopped
cilantro (to taste)
red wine vinegar or lime (optional)

In a large pan heat the oil and saute the onion until translucent

Add the garlic and saute until fragrant

Add the chili powder and cumin and saute about a minute

Add the beans, water (or stock), oregano, salt and pepper and cook until most of the water evaporates and then remove from the heat.  I would add either a dash of red wine vinegar or lime juice here just to brighten up the flavors.

Mix the pumpkin puree, chipotle and cilantro in a bowl and heat it up in the microwave

Take a tortilla, top with some pumpkin and beans.  Sprinkle with toppings of your choice (I used shredded cheese and green onion).  Enjoy! 

Pumpkin Sage Risotto

Earlier this week I became slightly obsessed with roasting a pumpkin, so I did it.  It's easy, simply cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and threads and put face down on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for about an hour (plus or minus depending on the size of the pumpkin).

Now, I have a big batch of pumpkin puree that I need to do something with!  Last night, while I was out with friends eating crepes, Jason stayed home and made pumpkin risotto.  I just had a little for breakfast (I love leftover risotto for breakfast) and it was quite good!  Jason and I do not see eye to eye on the use of sage, so his dish had a little more than I would care for but that's my only comment.  He served the risotto as an accompaniment to a chicken breast with pesto. 


1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
5-6 cups of chicken stock
3/4 cup white wine
Pecorino (1/4 - 1/2 cup grated)
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
8 fresh sage leaves chopped (to taste)

In a sauce pan bring the stock to an almost simmer and keep warm.

In a large pot sautee the onion in oil with salt and peper until onion is softened. 

Add the garlic and rice.  Sautee until rice starts becoming translucent.

Add the white wine and stir until liquid is abosrbed and alcohol is gone (about 3 minutes).

Add 1 ladle full of stock to the rice.  Stir until liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding stock one ladle at a time until the rice is cooked.

Just before it is finished, add the pumpkin, sage, a dash of nutmeg, the butter and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Grate the pecorino into the dish.  Stir until pumpkin is heated through.  Add a dash of apple cider vinegar to brighten up the flavors.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I don't suppose anyone would imagine that an event which involved waking up to the Denver Boot on your car could result in feeling anything even approximating gratitude, but here it is (be patient, I'll get there)

First of all, I can't tell you how pleasant the people at City Hall were yesterday morning.  We had fun.

Second of all, my car was booted while parked overnight (legally) in a metered spot.  The meters are on from 8:00am to 6:00pm.  I parked my car at 9:30pm Thursday night and planned to leave for work before 8:00am on Friday.  Imagine my surpise at 7:45am to see the dreaded bright yellow contraption hooked up to my front tire.

Long story short, I take the L to my downtown office and pit stop at City Hall to pay the fines.  However, I now have a dilemma.  They can't tell me when the boot will be taken off, but as soon as they do, I will have my car sitting in a metered spot!  I called my local police district to explain my dillema and they told me if it did get ticketed that I would be able to contest it.  So I work my day as usual, planning on checking the car when I get home and moving it right away if the boot is off.

Flash forward to 8:30am today and as I'm getting out of bed (I don't work today) I remember that I NEVER MOVED THE CAR!  I could have 2 new tickets on the damn thing after shelling out $437 to clear all tickets off of both my and my husband's records to having the boot removed.

So (and here's where the gratitude part comes in) I race outside to find that I have been issued no tickets.  So, I am grateful that I do not owe the City of Chicago any more money and that my car is now safely parked in a regular spot. 

However, I'm one step closer to moving to the country.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pecorino, Honey & Orange Zest Part II

I came across this picture online of our wonderful waiter, Jonathan at Cantinetta dei Verrazzano!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pecorino, Honey & Orange Zest Dessert

This summer we returned to Tuscany for our wedding anniversary trip. 

Our first day we stopped at the Cantinetta dei Verrazzano in Florence.  It is a wine bar owned by the Cappellini family who own the Castello di Verrazzano.  It was our first time and we were lucky enough to be seated at one of only 2 outside tables.  The day was gorgeous and we were hungry and eager for our first glass of Chianti (it just doesn't taste the same in the states).  We were also tired and slightly dazed from the travel.  Luckily our waiter spoke impeccable English and took quite a liking to us.  We let him surprise us with wines and even help with the food selection, including a dessert we didn't even order!

Now Florence is not known for their bread.  At some point in history the Tuscans took the salt out.  If you want bread go to France.  However, the rustic whole grain bread of this dessert was delicious and we were stunned with the simplicity of it. 

Jason surprised me this Friday with a re-creation of the dessert!  Tears almost welled up in my eyes as he laid the plate down in front of me.  All the memories of that simple meal came flooding back. 


A good, rustic whole grain bread
Soft pecorino
Orange zest
Black pepper

Take a slice of bread.  Top with a slice of the pecorino.  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and orange zest.

Sounds too simple to be true?  Believe it. 


I am grateful for the faith my friends and loved ones have in me.  Through no fault other than my own I am suddenly taking the GRE on Monday, having not yet really studied.  The two people I spoke to about my dilemma (my running partner and my husband) both had the same reaction.  "Well, that's kind of soon but you're smart, you like tests and you'll do great."

I still panicked and had to eat a Totino's Party Pizza last night (um, emotional eating anyone?) but those few words helped to assuage my racing heart.  It feels a little bit like college, hunkering down to cram. 

Minus the numerous smoke breaks, of course.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gratitude and contentment

I just came across this post on The Happiness Project website. 

It encapsulates a lot of what I think, but states it more eloquently than I have.  I think a lot of what is wrong with our society is how innured we become to the comforts of our situations.  We seem unable to be content for more than a few minutes at a time before we want it bigger and better. 

In our Type A, overdrive, age of immediate gratification we seem to have completely lost sight of the concept of contentment or satisfaction.  We've had it beaten into our heads that if you aren't constantly striving for something better you're a loser.  However, we seem to have only adapted this mindset when it comes to material objects and seem to forget all about it when it comes to personal betterment, our relationships or our committment to a greater good. 

It comes directly back to my own Gratitude project.  Instead of living days, weeks, years in the future which inevitably leads to dissatisfaction with the present, let's all slow down and look at where we are and what we have.  And allow ourselves a moment to breathe.  And smile. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lentil Sausage Soup

I love Monday nights.  Mondays I always come straight home from work and love to get things in order for the following week.  This often involves cooking several items to have available throughout the week.

Recently I have been craving lentils and decided that a lentil sausage soup would be perfect for the week ahead.


1 1/2 cups lentils (rinsed and drained)
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 mild italian sausage links, meat removed from casings
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced
3 celery stalks chopped
1 carrot chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
salt and pepper
red wine vinegar
*several handfuls baby spinch (optional)

In a large sauce pan sautee the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the olive oil.  Remove from pan.

In the pan cook the sausage until browned.

In a large stock pot put the vegetables, sausage, broth, lentils, canned tomatoes, herbs and seasonings.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes.  Right at the end I throw some spinach in.  I then add a dash of red wine vinegar to brighten things up.  Start with maybe a half tablespoon and add more if you like. 

If you like, puree about 3 ladles full of the soup and return it to the pot for a thicker soup.

The soup is done and I'm waiting for my husband to return to work for the final taste test! 

Mashed Celery Root

I have become a big fan of the celery root, also known as Celeriac.  Most people I talk to don't know how to even approach the strange looking root.

Here's a recipe that we enjoy frequently, a twist on the traditional mashed potatoes


1 celery root
3 potatoes
dash of cream

Peel the potatoes and chop into pieces.  Peel the celery root and chop into similarly sized pieces.  Put in a pot, cover with water and boil until the potatoes and celery root are fork tender.

Remove from and drain.  Return the vegetables to the pot and add a dash of cream, a little butter (a tablespoon or two) and mash to desired consistency.  Taste, add more cream and butter if needed and season with salt and pepper.


OK, I'm a but behind and not really keeping up with my "one post a day" promise, but hey, what can I say.  The weekend was incredible, too much to do, too little time to blog.

Today I am grateful for the farm and the farmer's markets.  There is nothing more satisfying than being able to purchase your produce directly from the growers.  Except, perhaps, growing your own. 

Everything tastes better than anything you could buy in a store.  We didn't do a CSA this year and instead made our way to our local farmer's market every Sunday.  Greeting the neighbors and seeing the faces of the vendors who by now look familiar and recognize us by sight. 

I discovered a farm stand out near my suburban office and purchased a pie pumpkin, spaghetti squash, onions and green tomatoes.  This stand's season ends at the end of this week.  And my local farmer's market is done for the year.  However, they will be continuing once/month through the fall and early winter at a nearby inside location. 

I have big plans for the pumkin and green tomatoes.  I'll post my recipes here soon!